Note: This ARC was provided by Sassy Savvy Fabulous PR in exchange for an honest review.
Her hands fell from my face, and I realized that I was wrong. I wasn't grasping at straws—I was desperately clutching at her, and she fell through my fingers like running water, impossible to hold and yet even harder to whisk away in its entirety. She'd already soaked into my soul.
I've read every one of Rebecca Yarros books and I have yet to encounter one story that didn't have me shedding, at the very least, a few tears. She has a gift for evoking both strong and subtle emotional responses from her readers, creating stories that are layered with complexities but are too easy to become so absorbed in and she matches that with multi-dimensional characters who worth getting to know and who you can't help falling for, sharing in their highs and lows as they find their way to their happily-ever-afters. The amazing thing is that it doesn't matter if her books are full-length novels or quick-read novellas. Yarros's superb quality of the writing has yet to falter, as evidenced by her latest release, Ignite.
Ignite is the second prequel novella in the author's on-going Legacy series, which is a collection of stories about a new generation of elite firefighters in the town of Legacy, Colorado. These aren't ordinary firefighters; they are the children of hotshots who were killed in the fire that nearly took over their entire town years ago. From the ashes, the town has returned to life and flourished; from the embers, the legacy left behind by their parents burns bright, but a sufficient number have to become part of the new hotshots team if they hope to bring back what their parents brought pride to. This is what has River Maldonado returning to Legacy...but will it mean leaving his heart behind in Alaska with his best friend, Avery Claire?
Both twenty-five, River and Avery have been best friends for nearly as long as they've known each other. Moving to Alaska from Colorado was all about being with his older brother and River has followed in his footsteps, becoming a firefighter as well, both walking the same path as their later father. When news reaches them about the possibility of the hotshots team coming back for as long as they meet the required number, River and his brother know returning to Legacy is a given. They're doing this for their father, but River doesn't even want to consider leaving Avery. Maybe a few days in Colorado will get her to see she has a chance at finally living the life she deserves. And hopefully, she'll want to do it with River by her side.
When Avery's mother was taken suddenly due to a car accident, she became the main caregiver to both her father and her younger sister. She's had to shelve whatever dreams she may have because her family has to come first. For as long as she has her best friend River to lean on, she can make it through whatever challenges may lie ahead, just like she's done over the past seven years. But River is headed back to his hometown to fulfill the legacy left behind by his father. She's torn between wanting a life filled with possibilities, a life that River is willingly offering her in Legacy, and life as she knows it now, full of familial responsibilities. Can she put herself and a hopeful future with River first or will her dreams just burn out?
Like I mentioned earlier, this book, like those before it, made me cry. The respective journeys River and Avery are on meant overcoming the loss of their parents. Avery's father may still be alive but he's barely living, drowning in pain that he thinks will lessen with each pill he pops. They've also been side by side one a different kind of journey, one that has them considering the possibilities of acting on their long-hidden feelings, moving from best friends to much more. They both have a great deal of love for their siblings—River's older brother Bishop and Avery's younger sister Adeline—but while River wants to continue his late father's legacy, Avery is saddled by the guilt heaped upon her by her father, leaving her overburdened.
This novella was much more than a friends to lovers romance. This was about family and the kind of responsibilities that children take upon themselves for their parents and siblings and how choosing to lead a life of their own does not mean that they don't love their families. My heart broke for River, especially because the guy went above and beyond to show Avery the life she could have if only she would choose it for herself. The book played out in a way that I felt allowed both River and Avery to flourish as main characters and evolve in a way that wouldn't have been possible had it been just the same, old recycled story line. Only two novellas in but Legacy's already a top favorite. Ignite burns bright with five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Legacy series:
Point of Origin (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review
Ignite (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)